NordVPN vs Private Internet Access (PIA) VPN

Our Take: NordVPN and Private Access Internet are both well-established VPN services with good reputations and large server lists. They both also commit to privacy and agree not to log your online activity, which are fundamental requirements of a solid VPN solution.If you’re looking for one of the best prices that isn’t free, Private Access Internet’s two-year plan is the best choice. You’ll pay less than $3 a month for solid service and up to 10 simultaneous connections, which is a great value overall if you can make the commitment.If you want a VPN that’s known for speedy downloads, NordVPN may be the better option for you. The lack of data caps and high average speeds makes this a good choice for families who like to bingewatch several shows at a time.

A VPN, or virtual private network, can help protect your identity and network when you use the internet, including browsing online or streaming entertainment. A decade or more ago, VPNs were generally limited to specialty and business environments, but they’ve become more affordable and available for use in residential environments. With so many options to choose from, it can be difficult to find the right solution for you. We provide a breakdown of the key features to look for and compare two top options, NordVPN and Private Internet Access, to help you make a decision below.

How We Evaluated NordVPN vs Private Interest Access

With so many VPN service providers offering different features and benefits, knowing what to look for is important. We evaluated these two companies on a range of factors but primarily those related to the most important for VPNs. Even if you don’t pick from one of these options, keep these important factors in mind when looking at other providers.

Common Features We Looked For

1. Security and Privacy

The reason that you use a VPN is to secure your information and history when you’re online. That makes security and privacy the top thing you want to verify when considering services and plans. First, make sure that the VPN service you decide on encrypts data to keep your information private and safe; the highest current encryption rate for this purpose is 256-bit AES. You may also want a service with a no-log policy, which means it doesn’t record what you do online. And if the VPN provider supports a kill switch, that’s good too. A kill switch means the connection is broken if your VPN isn’t working for any reason so you’re not browsing unprotected.
2. Server Coverage

When you use a VPN, you route through servers provided by the company you use. If the provider has only one server, every time it experiences a glitch, is down for maintenance or is just busy, you don’t get a secure connection. Luckily, most VPN providers have many servers. You also want to look for companies with servers in multiple locations, including in different countries. That helps ensure natural disasters, political environments and other factors don’t impact your access to servers when you need them.

3. Performance

It’s not enough to have a lot of servers, though. You also need access to servers that can support high internet speeds and streaming on a wide variety of services. How many devices you can connect is also important, especially if you are in a home with a family that regularly connects and streams via a wide variety of devices. Whether or not the service has monthly download limits can also be important if you’re streaming a lot because meeting a data cap could lead to limited protections or paying extra.

4. Price

Finally, make sure you understand the cost of your VPN service. Some services offer free options or free trials. Typically, the highest performing services do charge a monthly fee, but if you’re willing to commit for a year or more at a time, you can find options for less than $10 or even $5 a month.

NordVPN vs Private Internet Access Comparison

These are two top VPN services for use in residential environments, but which one is better for you? We spent more than 10 hours researching NordVPN and Private Internet Access so we could bring you details about how they compare when it comes to the four most important features for VPNs. Check out the breakdown below.

Security and Privacy

Private Internet Access is well known for its commitment to security and privacy — after all, it is in the name. It uses 256-bit AES encryption to protect information and supports IP cloaking. IP cloaking is when the service provides a mask IP that covers your actual IP. That mask IP shows up as the IP of origin when you visit certain sites, and it changes as you move across the web so you can’t be tracked. Other security features offered by PIA include identity protection for anonymous browsing, firewalls to protect you from unwanted external connections and a kill switch. PIA also commits to a no-log policy.

NordVPN also uses 256-bit AES encryption, so it’s equal to PIA in that regard. Other ways NordVPN also protects your information and identity as you browse online or stream is by offering a kill switch, supporting a no-log policy and using perfect forward secrecy. Perfect forward secrecy is also referred to as PFS. It just means that your connection is given a key each time you log on that is used to help manage your VPN coverage. But the key is unique for every log in, which makes it that much harder to track you online.

Both of these services are considered leaders when it comes to privacy and security. Either one you choose can provide appropriate peace of mind in that regard.

Server Coverage

PIA has more than 3,300 servers. It reports servers in 32 countries throughout the globe, helping to ensure you can always find a server to meet your connection needs. Servers are located throughout the United States, including in Florida, Chicago, New York City, Seattle, California and other areas. PIA also has servers in other countries, including Canada, the UK, Brazil, France, Italy, India, Norway, Australia, Japan, Romania and Finland.

NordVPN doesn’t have quite as many servers as PIA reports, though it still runs an ample 2,200+ servers across the globe. That includes more than 1,700 servers in the United States alone. Other countries where you can find NordVPN servers include Mexico, Canada, Germany, France, the UK, Denmark, India and the Netherlands. Countries throughout South America, Africa, the Asia Pacific region and parts of the Middle East also have NordVPN servers.

Both of these companies offer relatively robust server coverage. While PIA has about a thousand more, NordVPN has enough to keep up with requirements in most cases.

Performance

As with any VPN service, the number of people hitting a certain server at the same time you are can impact speeds when you use PIA. Since there are thousands of servers to choose from, you can typically fix any issues by simply switching to another one. But if PIA doesn’t have a lot of servers near you, you may find lower speeds as you connect to servers across the world. It’s important to note that the concept of “near” when it comes to VPN servers is often just within your country or on the same content as you. PIA does support up to 10 devices connecting at one time. That means if you have a family of five and everyone is using two devices at one time, you still don’t run into a problem. Browsers supported include Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer and Safari, and you can stream on almost any platform.

NordVPN is known for pretty fast speeds, even when you’re connecting to a server across the globe. It offers unlimited bandwidth and data and you can connect with up to six devices simultaneously to meet the needs of household internet connections. Browsers supported include Chrome and Firefox, and you can stream with this service on a wide range of platforms, including Netflix, Hulu, the BBC, YouTube, Prime Video, Kodi, HBO, Disney and Showtime.

Price

Both of these companies are relatively affordable, particularly if you go with longer-term plans for extra savings. However, Private Internet Access is quite a bit lower when it comes to the one- and two-year plans, which may make it the better choice for businesses on a budget.

Pricing Comparison
PlanNordVPNPrivate Internet Access
1 month$11.95$9.95
1 year, paid once annually$6.99/month or $83.88/year$3.33/month or $39.95/year
2 years, paid once every two years$4.99/month or $119.76/two years$2.69/month or $69.95/two years
3 years, paid once every three years$3.49 a month or $125.64/three yearsN/A

Overview: NordVPN vs IPVanish

Either of these VPNs would make a solid choice in most residential environments. But obviously your specific needs and preferences come into play when making a final decision. Check out the table below, which provides a detailed comparison of a number of specs related to NordVPN and PIA. It helps you understand exactly how these two options stack up against each other.

NordVPN vs Private Internet Access Comparison Table

Feature Comparison
NordVPNPrivate Access Internet
Free Trial30 days*30 days money back guarantee only
Customer Support24/7 Live ChatEmail
Platform/Browser CompatibilityChrome, FirefoxChrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer and Safari
Server Coverage5,100+ servers in 59 countries3,341 VPN and Proxy servers in 52 locations across 32 countries
Number of Devices610
No-log PolicyYesYes
TorrentingNoYes
Streaming ServicesNetflix, Hulu, the BBC, YouTube, Prime Video, Kodi, HBO, Disney, ShowtimeNetflix, Hulu, the BBC, YouTube, Prime Video, Kodi, HBO, Disney, Showtime
Security EncryptionAES-256-GCM256-bit AES
Kill SwitchYesYes
Learn MoreVisit NordVPNVisit Private Access Internet

Bottom Line

NordVPN and Private Access Internet are both well-established VPN services with good reputations and large server lists. They both also commit to privacy and agree not to log your online activity, which are fundamental requirements of a solid VPN solution.

If you’re looking for one of the best prices that isn’t free, Private Access Internet’s two-year plan is the best choice. You’ll pay less than $3 a month for solid service and up to 10 simultaneous connections, which is a great value overall if you can make the commitment.

If you want a VPN that’s known for speedy downloads, NordVPN may be the better option for you. The lack of data caps and high average speeds makes this a good choice for families who like to bingewatch several shows at a time.